Friday, February 12, 2010

Take My Advice or DIY: How to Live Life and Influence People

Always wear clean underwear in case you get in an accident.
Dance like it hurts. Love like you need money. Work when people are watching."

Hey, makes as much sense as anything else, right? The best advice I’ve ever been given has come from books, not people. That’s right. I learned about sex from Danielle Steele books, and romance from Piers Anthony, a fantasy writer. Title? The Color of Her Panties- 1992. (“rolling eyes” Oh, don’t look so shocked!) It’s a magical fantasy book about a boy and girl who fall in love in another world where magic really exists- particularly the magical ability of the sight of girl panties to freeze a guy’s brains. See- real life advice right there in fantasy writing. All Steele ever taught me was to expect massive orgasms whenever grotesquely over-muscled men swept me into their arms. Since this has never happened, I conclude that so-called “romance” books have no basis in reality. Oh, and also the sky is blue. (Talk about obvious generalities.) Still, it did teach me what to look for in the guy I really wanted- honesty, desire, and love. Even if it was overblown chick lit, it still told me I deserved a hero. Books, music, movies-media in general, have taught me some of the greatest and most necessary lessons I’ve ever learned. In good books, the hero isn’t just the muscle head- sometimes he’s the villain,the guy who does all the wrong things for the right reasons. It’s all about perspective. The blues taught me about how love can break a heart, without me having to experiment with my own. Movies made me feel swept up in emotion and action- a feeling I have had less luck re-enacting in my own life. (Which is why movie tickets are still a large part of my monthly budget.) Romances told me stories of smart, beautiful women and the smart, handsome men who loved them. Fantasy taught me to dream- and that evil can always- must always- be defeated, no matter the cost. Poetry showed me the beauty of other people’s thoughts and encouraged me to think my own unique ones-- and share them. I honestly believe that I am a better, more moral person than I might otherwise have been because of what I was exposed to as a child. This is one of the reasons I became a librarian, and a teacher (there are other more unsavory ones, but I won't get into those here)- and tried to be a good role model (mostly by hiding every one of my “normal activities from my students and acting like an ice queen-then I realized it was better they learn from my mistakes than make dangerous new ones of their own. I shared some stories and heard some hair raising ones in return. Oh parents, parents, you know not what your kids do!)
I wanted to give them the advice that had made a difference in my life, and hoped that they would use in turn to become better people. And like all good advice it came out sounding like a sound bite- and like all good advizees(sp?), few of them listened. But the few who did, I steadfastly believe, are better for it.

 Advice, cliches, and truisms are all encapsulated wisdom- but few are the wise and many are the ignorant who all believe that they deserve equal (and in the case of politicians-more than equal) say. I don’t want to "word" the world to death. I just want a few wise people in charge to make sure it goes on. ( And make sure those old people’s homes are in good shape when I come to my gum-smacking years.) So a little real advice for the few who are readers ( and therefore, probably don't need it. Oh, well.)

 Live life, 
read lots, 
eat well, 
love better,
 smile often, 
sleep late, 
but don’t miss sunrises or sunsets, 
play with butterflies, kids and kittens, 
and when in the mood with each other.
 Keep your powder dry, and your horse too 
and always check the chamber of a gun. 
Laugh easily, forgive easily, but don’t forget; 
a snake with its head cut off can still bite.
 Enjoy nature, but respect it.
 Enjoy women (and men), but respect them. 
Love all who will let you and even those who won’t – 
they need it more than you think… and so do you. 
Live well, die well, but not before your time. 
 And don’t forget your sunscreen or a towel.*

And even though I know you don’t hear me now, 
like all mothers,
 literal and metaphorical-
believe me
 you really will thank me for it later.

*Thanks to Douglas Adams!

For some good advice I wish I had gotten in high school- check out Advice to Live By on Youtube
(Yeah, I probably still wouldn't have listened. C'est la vie!)

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